There are few companies I despise more than cable companies. They are virtual monopolies that set artificially high prices that you can either take or leave. Most of us take them because we don’t have a choice, but there are still a few tricks to make sure you’re at least getting fair treatment from the common bait and switch tactics most cable providers use.
If you’ve looked at your cable bill recently you’ve probably noticed that its pretty high. It’s probably always been high, but was it ever lower? If it was, then you might be paying too much. Most cable and internet providers use 12 month promotional pricing on their packages to get you to sign up, but have you ever tried finding out what the price will be AFTER the promotion ends? It’s nearly impossible. I’ve spent way too much time on the phone talking to reps trying to get them to tell me what the price would be after 12 months and not one of them has even been able to answer the question. Regardless, once that period ends, you’ll be in for a shock when your bill goes up anywhere from $10-$50 per month. While most people are content to just accept the new price and pay it, I certainly am not.
Every 12 months I pencil in some time to call my least favorite service provider, Time Warner Cable to get them to reduce my internet bill after they decide I’m not paying enough. I prefer fast internet so my bill is around $70 per month for a 30Mbps connection. After 12 months my bill jumped up $10 to $80 per month, but only because somehow the discount they gave me from last time I complained was still in effect, otherwise it would be $90 per month. While I still think $70 is too much for internet, I do enjoy my fast connection and tough it out. My only other option is AT&T U-Verse which caps out at 18Mbps since Verizon FIOS has agreements not to service my area even though they can (don’t even get me started on THAT topic).
With my recent complaint call to Time Warner I threatened to switch to U-Verse which offers its 18Mbps service at $45 per month unless they were willing to give me the current 12 month 30Mbps promotional rate of $60. After being put on hold a few times and checking with the higher-ups, she stated that while she couldn’t give me the $60 rate, she could upgrade my service to 50Mbps for their promotional price of $70 per month putting me back at what I paid before, but with a much faster connection. This seemed pretty reasonable to me but I decided to go one step further. I noticed on their website that there was an offer for a free Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 for new customers that switched to Time Warner and chose the 50Mbps option. I thought I would ask if I could get that Galaxy Tab since I was upgrading and while she didn’t believe it was possible she once again put me on hold to ask the people with answers. A few minutes later she came back and told me I was also getting a free Galaxy Tab.
For my 15 minute effort, I was able to lower my bill to the same rate I had previously, but get an additional 20Mbps speed AND get a free Galaxy Tab as well. This will save me $120 per year and I will probably sell the $200 tab since I don’t really have a need for it. If you’re paying too much for your cable or internet bill, don’t hesitate to call and complain. They would rather give you a discount than see you leave to join an equally evil competitor.